The FBI Laboratory Division did not comply with FBI and Justice Department policies in two cases when it approved outside employment for employees, according to a new report from the DOJ Office of Inspector General. In addition, it is likely that the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) compensated those workers using DOJ grant funds. However, in 23 of the 25 cases examined, employees were in compliance with DOJ policies for their external work.
The OIG also concluded that the FBI has “resolved” the recommendations it made for changes in policies.
The division oversees the the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). CODIS is a DNA database that stores DNA profiles created by federal, state and local crime labs nationwide.
According to FBI and DOJ guidelines policies, employees cannot engage in outside employment that involves a DOJ grant. More than 90 percent of the NFSTC is funded by DOJ grants, according to the report.
The audit was spurred by an August 6, 2010 letter from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in which he expressed concerns about FBI Laboratory employees who were “moonlighting” for the NFTC.
The audit’s objectives were to:
- identify and assess the procedures through which FBI Laboratory DNA staff request and obtain approval for outside employment,
- determine if DNA staff and FBI management followed the established procedures regarding outside employment and
- determine whether outside employment by DNA staff creates the reality or appearance of conflicts of interest.
The Inspector General’s office found that two FBI Laboratory Division employees worked for an external organization conducting Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) audits. However, in the additional 23 cases examined, division workers had performed or observed QAS audits either as part of their FBI duties without being compensated by the organizations or prior to working for the FBI, which is in compliance with DOJ policies.
The audit concluded that the FBI Laboratory was not compliant with FBI and DOJ policies and that employees should not have been approved for outside work they conducted. However, the QAS audits the employees participated in were not compromised by the compensation issues.
The office recommends that FBI Laboratory not be allowed to be paid by external organizations for performing CODIS-related work, as the FBI is the custodian of the system. In addition the auditors called for increased oversight of the approval process for external work.
In a March 10 letter to acting Inspector General Cynthia A. Schnedar, FBI Assistant Director Amy Jo Lyons said the burreu agreed with OIG’s recommendations and has taken steps to begin implementation.
In an appendix to the report, OIG concluded that the recommendations have been “resolved.”